I read the first three books of "The Lost Years of Merlin" because my husband had a three-in-one volume from his jr. high days. According to him, that was that! I read them, explored the internet, and realized husband was wrong--thus ordering the next two (that's all there is, right?) So, decades after these books' heyday, I'm happy to say this installment is just as charming as its predecessors.
Life is going more or less normally for Merlin and Hallia, until a few detours result in a lost sword, a fatally wounded Merlin, and a little boy carrying a magic key in order to free his master. The adventure is rousing, I loved the Arthurian tidbits thrown in, and Barron continues to be an engaging writer.
I don't feel this was quite as creative as its predecessors, at least as far as originality goes, but it's so fun and good-natured, with the Arthurian stuff brought into so well, that I didn't mind too much. Some might want the harder fantasy of the earlier books, but this was good enough for me.